NCAA Tournament bracket projections, 2-24-14: Rock-M-Tology

Yes, Mizzou is still in. And yes, the Tigers should really think about winning one of their two remaining road games if they want to stay in. Regardless, however, we forget certain things when living on the bubble. Not every loss is devastating for one simple reason: Everybody on the bubble is losing games. That's why they're on the bubble. Mizzou went from potential 10-seed to the precipice of a Play-In Game thanks to Saturday's awful trip to Tuscaloosa, but they're still in. For now. They could still be in with a loss to Georgia, but I'd rather not find out.

Who's moving up?

Nebraska (16-10) - Tim Miles is making himself some money this month. Since losing at Penn State on January 23, Nebraska is 7-1; the Huskers have won five in a row, and after the big road win over Michigan State, they continued their onslaught with easy wins over Penn State and Purdue. As of right now, they're on the right side of the bubble ... which is a crazy thing to say about a team that was 9-9 and 1-5 in conference a month ago.

Baylor (18-9) - They're not boring. Baylor hit conference play looking like a top-5 seed or so, then lost eight of 10 to start Big 12 play. But they've now won four in a row, this week taking care of Oklahoma State in overtime and easily handling West Virginia in Morgantown. They could either win or lose their last four games of the regular season, and nobody would blink an eye.

BYU (20-10) - BYU had a strong November (wins over Texas and Stanford, losses only to Iowa State and Wichita State) and a wretched December (2-5, with losses to Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine), but the Cougars are 12-3 since the start of the new year, and wins over St. Mary's and Gonzaga have them either in the field or really close. I have them in.

Boise State (18-9) - Leon Rice's Broncos aren't in at this point, but they're in the conversation. They've beaten New Mexico, Colorado State, and UNLV to move to 8-6 in conference play, and they've been really, really close to a greater fate -- they've lost by six points or less to Iowa State and San Diego State (twice).

Who's moving down?

Minnesota (17-11) - Minnesota and Nebraska switched bodies around January 23. At that point, as Nebraska was bottoming out, the Gophers were 15-5 and coming off of home wins over Ohio State and Wisconsin. They're 2-6 since then, with home losses to Northwestern and Illinois, a road loss to Purdue, and, most recently, an 18-point revenge loss to Ohio State. They're now 6-9 in Big Ten play and in need of a rally ... with games against Iowa and Michigan on deck.

Texas (20-7) - The Longhorns had a bad week, losing by nine at Iowa State, then by 31 at Kansas. They're still in the field, obviously, but they're sinking from "potential 5-seed" to "8-9 game material." They get Baylor and Oklahoma this week, which means they'll either right the ship or be a 10-seed by this time next week.

Arizona State (19-8) - The Sun Devils had an even worse week than Texas, first losing by nine at Colorado, then losing by 23 at Utah. They fell from 30th to 42nd in Pomeroy's rankings after the Utah game alone, which is really tough to do in late-February.

Gonzaga (23-6) - Hey, speaking of bad weeks ... Gonzaga lost by eight at BYU, which is forgivable ... then lost at San Diego, which isn't. The Zags had a major opportunity to shore up a good seed in recent weeks, but they lost at Memphis on February 8, and they just suffered their first truly bad week at a really inopportune time.

Last Few In

Names in italics would be among the last in without their conference's automatic bid.

California (18-9)
BYU (19-10)
Oklahoma State (17-10)
Missouri (19-8)
Nebraska (16-10)
Minnesota (16-11)
Oregon (18-8)
Xavier (17-9)

First Few Out

Dayton (19-8)
Florida State (16-11)
Richmond (18-9)
Arkansas (18-9)
Providence (18-10)
St. John's (18-10)
Georgetown (16-11)
Tennessee (15-11)
Boise State (16-9)

By Conference

7 - Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12
5 - Atlantic 10, ACC, American
3 - Big East, SEC
2 - Mountain West, West Coast

The Bracket

FIRST FOUR (in Dayton)

Nebraska (16-10) vs. Xavier (17-9)
Minnesota (16-11) vs. Oregon (18-8)

Northern Colorado (14-9) vs. High Point (14-13)
Davidson (16-11) vs. Alabama State (12-9)

West Region
(Anaheim)
East Region
(New York City)
South Region
(Memphis)
Midwest Region
(Indianapolis)
1 Arizona (25-2) 1 Wichita State (28-0) 1 Florida (25-2) 1 Kansas (21-6)
16 N. Colo. / High Point 16 Robert Morris (18-11) 16 Boston U. (20-9) 16 Davidson / Ala. St.
8 George Wash. (20-7) 8 Stanford (18-8) 8 Memphis (20-6) 8 Colorado (20-8)
9 Baylor (16-9) 9 SMU (22-6) 9 Arizona State (19-8) 9 Pittsburgh (20-7)
San Diego San Antonio Orlando St. Louis
5 Louisville (23-4) 5 Iowa (18-7) 5 Michigan (19-7) 5 UCLA (21-6)
12 Nebraska / Xavier 12 Missouri (19-8) 12 Harvard (21-4) 12 Minnesota / Oregon
4 Ohio State (22-6) 4 Saint Louis (24-2) 4 San Diego St. (21-3) 4 Virginia (23-5)
13 New Mexico St. (20-8) 13 SFA (21-2) 13 N. Dakota St. (18-6) 13 Toledo (22-4)
San Diego San Antonio Spokane Raleigh
6 Kentucky (21-6) 6 Oklahoma (20-7) 6 UConn (21-6) 6 UMass (21-5)
11 Oklahoma St. (17-10) 11 Green Bay (19-5) 11 BYU (19-10) 11 Southern Miss (21-5)
3 Creighton (23-4) 3 Michigan State (22-6) 3 Iowa State (21-5) 3 Cincinnati (24-4)
14 Delaware (20-9) 14 Iona (19-8) 14 Mercer (19-7) 14 Belmont (20-8)
Spokane Milwaukee St. Louis Orlando
7 Texas (20-7) 7 New Mexico (21-5) 7 VCU (20-7) 7 North Carolina (20-7)
10 St. Joseph's (19-7) 10 Kansas State (18-9) 10 California (18-9) 10 Gonzaga (22-6)
2 Duke (22-6) 2 Syracuse (25-2) 2 Villanova (24-3) 2 Wisconsin (22-5)
15 N.C. Central (19-5) 15 Santa Barbara (16-7) 15 Georgia State (18-7) 15 Vermont (17-9)
Raleigh Buffalo Buffalo Milwaukee

My At-First-Glance Final Four

Arizona-Michigan State-Florida-Cincinnati.

Second glance: Ohio State-Wichita State-Villanova-Kansas.

Missouri's inevitable path to destiny (ahem)

Iowa-SLU-Wichita State-Michigan State-Arizona-Florida. Not the worst MIPTD™ ever, but that SLU game would be all sorts of annoying...

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